Land Based Fishing in Tryphena

I like to begin this article with a few words to fellow anglers and land based fishing enthusiasts. First of all, thanks for tuning in regularly and reading my articles on my humble fishing adventures on beautiful Great Barrier Island. I’ve learned how to fish about 8 years ago in New Zealand, mainly by reading fishing magazines, conversing with fishermen and in general trying things out, and being keen. For the regulars here on BENIsLAND, you might have noticed that I stopped using google maps to illustrate the fishing spots and you might notice that I will be even more discrete about the whole thing.

Why?, you ask. Exactly, ideally, I want share with you where I fish and how I fish and all of the rest, however, as it seems to be usually the case, some people take liberties, especially when they are on holiday, and ruin it for the rest. I’m not going to dwell on it but here are a few notes to think about, when you visit Great Barrier Island and plan to do some (extreme) fishing yourself.

  • Respect other people’s property, rights and peace.
  • Do not trespass, do not bother them with your agenda either. I don’t think it is cool to turn up on someone’s property just like that and then ask whether you can access it to get to a fishing spot.
  • Do not leave any litter, instead, pick up some rubbish from the beach on your way back.
  • Do not start any fires (not even on the beach), you are a guest and even us locals abide by this rule. There is a TOTAL FIRE BAN, and there is no way to misinterpret that.
  • Dispose of your rubbish correctly and don’t burden locals living on the coast. Why not catch a feed first without disturbing any local and after presenting a landowner with a fish ask whether you can take a short cut next time through their property?

After missing a great opportunity to fish off the rocks in the evening on the east coast two days ago, I really had to get out yesterday. The wind had turned, the tide was on its way out and Tryphena Bay seemed like an ideal spot. My plan was to fish from 1800-2000, catch a few fish for myself and my Mom, and hopefully a few for my friend who helped me a lot last year. Low tide was about 2000 and it is no secret, I like to fish the outgoing tide. Partly because many of the spots I fish are not accessible during high tide but mainly because I’ve always had better sessions on the outgoing.

So there I was, Rani the dog beside me, bucket in one hand, rods in the other, the pack on the back and the headlands of Tryphena Bay just 30 minutes away. This was my first fishing session in 2014. I was keen, eager and hopeful, well, actually, everything was right, so I was a bit sure of myself, too.

When I reached the spot, the usual cray pot was not in the way, there was an offshore wind, the current was strong but otherwise things were calm. The burlery was deployed first, then I rigged my two rods and cast a big, scored pilchard out on two 6/0 hooks, then a few chunks of pilchard were cast out on the bait rod.

It took about 5 minutes and the kahawai were in the burley trail. Too easy really… I chopped a kahawai head off and cast it out far on the big rod. The current was too strong though and my bait kept ending up in a foul spot. I lost three rigs. Very unusual. Anyway, after landing 3 kahawai, I noticed a big kahawai and targeted it with the bait rod.

Oh what great fun it was to land that obese seeming, large kahawai. The guts were really fat, but that was because they were filled with milt.

I had caught a feed of kahawai in less than an hour, and it was certainly no surprise that the snapper would show up soon. It was about 1900, and I really wanted to make this session a quick one, rather than fishing the change of light and getting home late, when I landed the first, legal snapper of 2014. A few more casts and out came a decent 45 cm+ snapper.

A massive kahawai and a couple snapper.
A massive kahawai and a couple snapper.

The action was only getting better, the snapper were aggressively on the bite and surely there was a 5 pound plus snapper somewhere in the back, amongst the kelp, feeding slowly on the burley and the pilchard chunks, but it’s not always about the big ones (for me anyway). I just love the fact that when I get things right, I can catch more than a feed within an hour.

Actually, the hike in and out took just as long as the time I spent actively fishing. I cleaned the fish, called my mate to meet me on the road and was home before 2030 to cook a simple meal of snapper and kahawai with some greens from my garden.

Kahawai, snapper, beans, onion, parsley, tomato n coriander on big plate.
Kahawai, snapper, beans, onion, parsley, tomato n coriander on big plate.

Granted, had I not lost 3 rigs on the big rod, I would have cast another kahawai head out while I was cleaning the fish.


In other news, we organized a three day event for the local youth, this time through The Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre of New Zealand (Great Barrier Island). I supervised only for one day, and what a great day it was indeed. 9 kids, Roger the instructor and myself, (sea) kayaked from Karaka Bay to Green Island, had lunch and snorkelled. I ate heaps of kina, we measured a few paua underwater which were just undersized and saw heaps of other cool stuff.

On Green Island
On Green Island


The beet root and the onion were given to me.
The beet root and the onion were given to me.

I’ve started to cart sea weed on site, the plan is to double my active gardening area in 2014. I’m pretty much living on beans, silver beet, gherkins, salad and some herbs. Hopefully, or as my Mom likes to say ‘enchiallah’, I’ll be self-sufficient in terms of veges next summer.

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